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EDITORIAL | Who’s Afraid of Condemning China’s Abuses? Japan’s Ruling Coalition

The LDP and Komeito water down, then shelve, the Diet resolution condemning China’s serious human rights violations. Shameful.



Human Rights leaders opposed to Beijing's treatment of ethnic minorities meet in Ginza, Tokyo, in February 2021



The extraordinary session of the Diet ended on December 21 after the passage of the nearly ¥36 trillion JPY ($315 billion USD) FY2021 supplementary budget that included economic measures to deal with COVID-19. 

Nevertheless, we are most displeased with the just-concluded Diet session. It failed to do its job on a matter of the utmost importance. That is to say, it left it to the next regular session of the Diet to approve a resolution condemning the Chinese government’s egregious human rights violations in Xinjiang and elsewhere. 

The result was contrary to the expectations of the Japanese people. When the Diet convenes for its next regular session in January 2022, it must quickly move to approve a human rights resolution condemning China. 

Executive officers in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito are largely responsible for the delay in adopting the human rights resolution. 

Back in June during the last regular session of the Diet, the foreign affairs sections of the Nippon Ishin no Kai (Restoration Party), Kokumin Minshuto (Democratic Party for the People), Rikken Minshuto (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan), and the LDP had already completed procedures for the adoption of a draft resolution. 


However, the resolution was shelved by the LDP leadership because of a cautious attitude toward China on the part of the Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner. 

The same thing happened during the just-concluded extraordinary session. According to members of multiple Diet caucuses, including the Japan Uyghur Parliamentary Alliance (chair: Keiji Furuya) and the Southern Mongolia Parliamentary Alliance (chair: Sanae Takaichi), after the original bill had been tweaked, the opposition parties agreed in principle to accept it. 

Nonetheless, the language of the resolution was subsequently watered down in line with demands from Komeito’s leaders. For one thing, the term “criticize” was deleted, and the section demanding an immediate cessation to human rights violations was revised to say that the Chinese authorities have a duty to explain the human rights situation in their nation. 

LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi.

Even after that, LDP secretary-general Toshimitsu Motegi declined to go ahead with a vote on the resolution, telling Furuya, Takaichi, and others who were calling for its quick adoption that “the content is fine, but it is a question of timing.” 

Supposedly that was because of all the attention being paid to the Japanese government’s response to the calls for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games set to open in February 2022. 

That is a bizarre stance. If timing is the crux of the matter, then when human rights are at stake, adoption of the resolution is needed as soon as possible. 

It is outrageous that the leaders of the LDP and Komeito should be toadying to Communist China in this fashion. The fact that Japan’s parliament will not raise its voice to protest and criticize the serious ongoing human rights violations is shameful.

Why don’t the leaders of the two ruling parties hear about the horrors occurring in China directly from those who have personally had their human rights trampled on, such as Uyghur women who managed to escape abroad after being forced to undergo sterilization

In the past, Japan and other Western nations allied with China to resist the threat from the Soviet Union. Now, however, it is China that is disrupting the international peace and suppressing human rights. 


It is high time that leaders of the LDP and Komeito realize that we live in an age when it would be dangerous to continue the longstanding strategy of not rocking the boat on any issue that might interfere with an easy friendship with Beijing. 


(Read the Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun